October 24, 2008

Krauthammer makes the case for McCain

Charles Krauthammer is an interesting man; a Harvard-trained physician and psychiatrist, he finished medical school while recovering from the diving accident that left him paralyzed for life, graduating on schedule with the rest of his classmates. He became the chief resident in psychiatry at Massachusetts General, then accepted a position in the Carter Administration, crafting policy dealing with the mentally ill.

Krauthammer joined the Carter-Mondale presidential campaign in 1980, writing speeches for the vice-presidential candidate; after the Democrats were demolished by Ronald Reagan, he became a journalist, winning a series of awards, including the Pulitzer Prize for the columns he penned for The Washington Post in 1987.

The man is no knee-jerk conservative, favoring legalized abortion, embryonic stem-cell research, and higher taxes on fuel to encourage conservation; he is opposed to the death penalty, creationism, and thinks private possession of firearms ought to be banned.

With that being said, Krauthammer has published an opinion piece today that is both a rousing endorsement of John McCain, as well as a scathing denunciation of the finger-in-the-wind conservatives who have rushed to endorse the Obamessiah.

Contrarian that I am, I'm voting for John McCain. I'm not talking about bucking the polls or the media consensus that it's over before it's over. I'm talking about bucking the rush of wet-fingered conservatives leaping to Barack Obama before they're left out in the cold without a single state dinner for the next four years.

I stand athwart the rush of conservative ship-jumpers of every stripe -- neo (Ken Adelman), moderate (Colin Powell), genetic/ironic (Christopher Buckley) and socialist/atheist (Christopher Hitchens) -- yelling "Stop!" I shall have no part of this motley crew. I will go down with the McCain ship. I'd rather lose an election than lose my bearings.

First, I'll have no truck with the phony case ginned up to rationalize voting for the most liberal and inexperienced presidential nominee in living memory. The "erratic" temperament issue, for example.

As if McCain's risky and unsuccessful but in no way irrational attempt to tactically maneuver his way through the economic tsunami that came crashing down a month ago renders unfit for office a man who demonstrated the most admirable equanimity and courage in the face of unimaginable pressures as a prisoner of war, and who later steadily navigated innumerable challenges and setbacks, not the least of which was the collapse of his campaign just a year ago.

McCain the "erratic" is a cheap Obama talking point. The 40-year record testifies to McCain the stalwart.

Nor will I countenance the "dirty campaign" pretense. The double standard here is stunning. Obama ran a scurrilous Spanish-language ad falsely associating McCain with anti-Hispanic slurs. Another ad falsely claimed that McCain supports "cutting Social Security benefits in half." And for months Democrats insisted that McCain sought 100 years of war in Iraq.

McCain's critics are offended that he raised the issue of William Ayers. What's astonishing is that Obama was himself not offended by William Ayers.

Moreover, the most remarkable of all tactical choices of this election season is the attack that never was. Out of extreme (and unnecessary) conscientiousness, McCain refused to raise the legitimate issue of Obama's most egregious association -- with the race-baiting Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Dirty campaigning, indeed.

The case for McCain is straightforward. The financial crisis has made us forget, or just blindly deny, how dangerous the world out there is. We have a generations-long struggle with Islamic jihadism. An apocalyptic soon-to-be-nuclear Iran. A nuclear-armed Pakistan in danger of fragmentation. A rising Russia pushing the limits of revanchism. Plus the sure-to-come Falklands-like surprise popping out of nowhere.

Who do you want answering that phone at 3 a.m.? A man who's been cramming on these issues for the past year, who's never had to make an executive decision affecting so much as a city, let alone the world? A foreign policy novice instinctively inclined to the flabbiest, most vaporous multilateralism (e.g., the Berlin Wall came down because of "a world that stands as one"), and who refers to the most deliberate act of war since Pearl Harbor as "the tragedy of 9/11," a term more appropriate for a bus accident?

Or do you want a man who is the most prepared, most knowledgeable, most serious foreign policy thinker in the United States Senate? A man who not only has the best instincts but has the honor and the courage to, yes, put country first, as when he carried the lonely fight for the surge that turned Iraq from catastrophic defeat into achievable strategic victory?

There's just no comparison. Obama's own running mate warned this week that Obama's youth and inexperience will invite a crisis -- indeed a crisis "generated" precisely to test him. Can you be serious about national security and vote on Nov. 4 to invite that test?

And how will he pass it? Well, how has he fared on the only two significant foreign policy tests he has faced since he's been in the Senate? The first was the surge. Obama failed spectacularly. He not only opposed it. He tried to denigrate it, stop it and, finally, deny its success.

The second test was Georgia, to which Obama responded instinctively with evenhanded moral equivalence, urging restraint on both sides. McCain did not have to consult his advisers to instantly identify the aggressor.

Today's economic crisis, like every other in our history, will in time pass. But the barbarians will still be at the gates. Whom do you want on the parapet? I'm for the guy who can tell the lion from the lamb.

That's as good a restatement of the foreign-policy rationale for opposing Obama as I've seen; it's hard to imagine a voter with a clear-eyed understanding of the dangers facing us casting a ballot for anyone other than McCain.

Look, I've said it over and over again: I'm not a McCain fan, but Obama strikes me as the wrong man at the wrong time to ensure the safety of the nation. Krauthammer is right, there really is only one logical choice.

Posted by Mike Lief at October 24, 2008 07:13 AM | TrackBack


You've got to be stone cold deaf not to hear the fat lady singing.

Posted by: Ronin at October 24, 2008 06:27 PM

Investor's Business Daily doesn't hear any singing ...

After two days of slippage that had pulled his lead down to 1.1 points, Obama reversed to a 3.5-point advantage headed into the weekend. He rebounded 3 points with women and moderates, 4 points in the West and among the working class, and 5 points with Catholics and the $30,000 to $50,000 income group. McCain lost 2 points with independents, but for the first time leads with parents.

Posted by: Mike Lief at October 24, 2008 06:34 PM

No offense intended but as you blog feverishly with rose colored glasses you are about as attentive to this election as the train engineer who pecked text messages into his phone as he barreled down the tracks and headlong into another locomotive.

Posted by: Ronin at October 25, 2008 10:32 AM

Post a comment

Remember personal info?